Photoworks has led Into the Outside, a Heritage Lottery Fund learning project creating a new digital archive to share and celebrate stories from LGBTQ+ young people in Brighton & Hove and beyond.
13-25 year olds in Brighton & Hove have been examining how issues faced today by young people identifying as LGBTQ+ compare with those faced by young LGBTQ+ people over the past fifty years, in the same city.
Participants were recruited by an open call through social media, schools and community groups. The group’s research and project work has culminated in a new queer archive, both for Brighton & Hove, but also of national interest and for use by a variety of audiences including cultural, education and young people themselves.
Photoworks led the thirteen month project in collaboration with Brighton & Hove Libraries Services, the Mass Observation Archive and the East Sussex Records Office. Many other organisations from across the city have been involved including local schools, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Queer in Brighton and Allsorts Youth Project.
Throughout the project, the Into the Outside group worked with many different communities and at events across the city including Pride and TransPride, pulling together research and collecting oral histories, many of which were included in an exhibition during spring 2017 at Brighton’s busy Jubilee Library.
Into the Outside investigates the period between 1967 (which saw the Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalize homosexual activity) and the present-day, encompassing some key historical moments for the LGBTQ+ community, such as the first Gay Pride marches, Section 28, the reduction of the age of consent, the Civil Partnership Act and the Equality Act.
Spearheaded by Juliette Buss, Learning and Engagement Curator for Photoworks, the project began in 2016, with photography and creative writing workshops, archive research and oral history training taking place in Brighton & Hove including at The Keep, a world-class archive resource centre that holds the archives of East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) and the Royal Pavilion & Museums Local History Collections. The young participants also explored a range of materials, including the National Lesbian and Gay Survey – a collection of autobiographical writing and ephemera submitted by over 250 people in the UK between 1986 and 2004 – in creating their project findings.
The programme was facilitated by artist Helen Cammock, who has many years of experience running high caliber arts projects with young people. Helen Cammock also contributed to the resources available online, alongside celebrated poet, Dean Atta.
Juliette Buss, Photoworks Learning and Engagement Curator, Photoworks, said,
“This project has been a valuable opportunity to help young people feel more connected with their city and themselves and enable them to explore, make sense of, and value the legacy of their cultural heritage. They learned about the importance of archives, developing heritage skills, and building awareness of LGBTQ+ issues such as, representation, identity, emotional wellbeing and social barriers to inclusion. Although the resource comes from a local project, we hope the materials will be widely utilized nationally by young people and those working in education.”
Visit the Into the Outside website at intotheoutside.org.uk
Into the Outside is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.